We all have personnel events that define us. Today is the 47st date of a shared event. I am not going to write about Kennedy’s assassination or the stories/conspiracy theories; there are volumes and volumes of that. I have nothing new to add, but I would not be surprised if I watch some on the History Channel this week.
I was in second grade at the time living in Richmond Virginia. I had move there from Annandale VA just outside of D.C. where my mother’s family live. We had move to there from Los Angeles, the home of my father’s family. He was no longer with us. He had died four and a half years earlier at the age of 42, on my mother’s birthday.
She had a special fondness for JFK. He was a young Irish Catholic attorney with a sharp wit and two children, the oldest a girl and the youngest a boy. This described my father. The loss felt personal. Since so many were grieving or in shock, I can’t say we were more so. I recall a feeling of numbness permeated.
Dallas is where it happened and Dallas was to blame – “the City of Hate.” Even into the 70s it had this stigma; even following the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. The stigma was only Dallas’. Little wonder my anxiety upon learning of my step-father transfer to Dallas. I was moving to Dallas.
There was always a fascination associated with this tragedy, possibly more in Dallas. Year later I heard a story from my best friend’s father. I don’t recall why or what brought it up, likely one of those ‘where were you’ conversations.
He had a direct connection. Turns out that during WWII he was stationed in some remote place, I think working with Radar that required him to have a fairly high security clearance. He worked for Kodak. So when the FBI or Secret Service got hold of the Zapruder camera and film they escorted it to the local Kodak headquarters. A quick check had his name popped up and they summoned him to develop it. The news was Kennedy had been shot; from the film he was sure it was fatal.